The compact battery (far left) and LXT battery (left) can both be used in compact tools – but the compact battery is not compatible with standard (LXT model) tools.
To test the life of the compact battery, I drove 3-inch drywall screws into a doubled-up 2x4 until it was drained. It gave out after 154 screws. With a fresh battery in the tool, I ran a 1-inch paddle bit through a 2x4 as many times as I could. The battery gave out after 25 holes. To put these numbers into context, I repeated the tests with LXT batteries. With them I got 321 screws and 46 holes. The difference is about what you'd expect, given that the compact battery is rated at 1.5 amp-hours and the LXT at 3.0 amp-hours.
The kit includes a 15-minute charger – 15 minutes being the amount of time it takes to charge a cool battery. If the battery is hot, charging will not begin until it has cooled sufficiently to be charged without damage to its cells. Fortunately the charger contains a cooling fan. On three separate occasions I timed how long it took to charge depleted batteries that had just come out of the tool, and in each case I found that it took about 24 minutes.
For the rest of the testing, I used the tool in the normal course of my work as a carpenter. Among the more significant tasks I used it for was a shelving project requiring the installation of over 200 pocket screws. The tool held up well under the intensive drilling and driving necessary to install these fasteners. Although the runtime was less than I would have gotten with a full-size LXT, it was sufficient to the task – I never once had to wait for a battery to finish charging.
The Bottom Line
This is an excellent tool for general carpentry, punch-list, and maintenance work. It's not the best drill/driver for continuous use away from a charger, since the compact batteries have less runtime than the larger LXTs. But for the kind of work I do, it's reasonable to give up some runtime in exchange for a smaller, lighter tool.
Doug Mahoney is a carpenter and freelance writer in Harvard, Mass.
Weight: 3.3 pounds
Length: 7-9/16 inches front to back
Speed: 0-400 and 0-1,500 RPM
Maximum torque: 480 inch-pounds
PTI torque*: 290 inch-pounds
Battery: 18-volt 1.5 amp-hour lithium-ion
Kit price: $199
Includes: Drill/driver, two batteries, charger, belt clip, and plastic storage case
*Power Tool Institute test standard